It was my thought, when I mis-picked my title, to go with you back a hundred and fifty years to the framing and adoption of the Constitution and assess the wisdom of the Fathers in the light of what has since come to pass. In this thought there was the wisdom that in my barrel there were a number of unpublished papers that might be dusted off for the new occasion if pressure of other duties left no time for more than dusting. These various papers contained much local color that could find no counterpart in the State of Washington. Rhode Island can be given credit for furthering the framing and adoption of the Constitution because she was so pestiferous toward her sisters under the Articles of Confederation that they were the more ready to neglect her and form a new union to which economic necessity would make her submit. But the State of Washington did not make to the framing and adoption of the Constitution even the contribution of cussedness. Not even a shadow of hope of fifty-four-forty moved the welders of the new union. Compelled though I have been to take an oath that I will by precept and example promote respect for the flag and the institutions of the State of Washington, I cannot give you any credit for initiating the institutions of government which have furnished the framework for a hundred and fifty years of national life. Address delivered at the Washington State Bar Association Convention, July 30, 1938.
Thomas R. Powell,
A Constitution for an Indefinite and Expanding Future,
14 Wash. L. Rev. & St. B.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol14/iss2/3